“We have 150 different companies that develop software at Ford”
One of the critical discussions circled around the complexity of automotive software:
“It’s so difficult for car companies to get software right. We have about 150 modules across the car, developed by 150 different companies, written in >100 different languages, that don’t talk to one another”, Farley mentions midway through the interview. “And we can’t even understand it all.”
Even though a vehicle might bear a single manufacturer’s name, it’s controlled by modules developed by several different suppliers, each contributing their proprietary software and IP. This decentralized approach, coupled with conflicting programming languages and disparate software structures, basically turns software development, maintenance, and improvements into a nightmare.
With the rise of EVs and the increasing reliance on software, vehicles are now hosting more code than ever before, facilitating an increasing number of automated functions. The shift is from a primarily hardware-based industry to a focus on software, with vehicles no longer limited by hardware or horsepower.
Farley’s enlightening insights underline a significant paradigm shift in the automotive industry, at least at Ford. The company initially approached electrification focusing on the propulsion system, which was fascinating yet limited in scope. But through years of learning and evolution, the focus has now moved beyond propulsion, with significant investment in software: “We’ve decided to completely insource the development of our 2nd Generation EV architecture.”
It’s not just about the vehicle anymore; it’s about the software, providing rich in-vehicle experiences to consumers, building a level of trust around payments and added-value services, which generate new revenue opportunities for car makers.
“We’ve decided to completely insource the development of our 2nd Generation EV architecture.”
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Watch the full interview below: